Category Archives: Sheila Oliver

Hypocrite Handlin Is Wrong On "Right-To-Work"

Republican Assemblywoman Amy “the Hypocrite” Handlin (LD13), has a guest column appearing in print and online in this weeks edition of the Independent, in which she states that she will be introducing a bill that will essentially strip all workers of their right to collective bargaining.

This guest column of her’s first appeared online at newjerseynewsroom.com back on May 31st and does not seem to have been updated since.

Since the first publication of Handlin’s column appeared over at the newsroom, I would be remised if I didn’t point out that her proposed legislation, which just so happened to be co-sponsored by her running mate in this years election Declan O’Scanlon, was dead on arrival. Good reporting and follow-up to Handlin’s commentary piece was done by Newjerseynewsroom reporter Tom Hester Jr.
In his follow-up which appeared July 8th, Hester spoke to NJ Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and is quoted as stating:
“This legislation is dead on arrival. It’s that simple. Dead on arrival.

Radical conservative ideology such as this has no place in New Jersey. This type of move may play elsewhere, but, quite simply, this anti-worker bill will never see the light of day.

Not only is this legislation an atrocious assault on worker rights, but it’s terrible economic policy, it would set back any chance we have under Gov. Christie of a strong recovery.”…


“Democrats and Republicans can work together for the common good and when appropriate to improve our economy and protect worker benefits, but this wage-cutting, anti-business bill is a line in the sand that cannot be crossed,”

Hester also quoted New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech who stated, “The deceptively named “right to work” policy is currently law in 22 states and is considered one of the most anti-union policies in the nation,” about Handlin and O’Scanlan’s proposed bill (A-4223).
So what is the purpose of having this old and out of date commentary printed in the Independent other than to mislead and misinform readers of her district, many of whom are hard working members of unions in both public and private unions? It is obviously a play at gaining support from the more conservative residents in the district and members of the TEA Party, who feel that she is out of touch and a “do-nothing”.
If this legislation ever where to be signed into law here in New Jersey it would undermined the livelihoods of not only union members, but all workers, white collared as well as blue collared.
Wages would remain stagnant and pension and health benefits would slowly dwindle away anytime a employer was concerned that his bottom-line was no longer big enough to support his mansion or yacht club membership.
Below are a few reader responses to Handlin’s commentary posted on the NewJerseyNewsroom, it seems that they also have a problem with her proposed and non existent, dead on arrival typically hypocritical legislation that is meant to pander instead of providing serious answers to her district’s problems:

“Right to Work”is a misnomer. It’s really the opportunity for any company to pay any employee any amount the company wants. Just what we need: more people earning less than a living wage and without any access to health care other than visits to the emergency rooms. So good for NJ! The assemblywoman cannot be so naive that she believes employers would care about safe working conditions. After all, money spent on safe working conditions would be better off lining the pockets of the wealthy. And, by law, union dues cannot be used for political purposes. Members must choose to donate into a separate fund. Now, if members are too scared to tell the union bosses they won’t donate, shame on the members. (Sarah H)

“Unions need a balance” – For the most part I agree with Ms. Handlin. I don’t think it’s an all or nothing deal though, unions are good things to have in otherwise unsustainably-low paying situations, but for professionals it makes less sense. Let the legislation you craft not try to swing the pendulum so far that it undermines the good side of unions, or it will surely fail.
( Ashley_)

” Handlin comments” – According to Handlin:“Right to Work would also quicken New Jersey’s economic revival. Right-to-Work states had 497,000 new businesses from 1993 to 2009, compared with 340,000 in forced union states, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently cited by the Wall Street Journal. That’s remarkable because just 40 percent of American workers live in Right-to-Work states.”

It’s hard to believe so many people fall for statements like this of Handlin’s, and support radical legislation like this. The truth is, what’s really remarkable is that ALL of the businesses she cites to being created from 1993 to 2009 weren’t created in Right-to-Work states…after all, in their pursuit of profits, businesses will do anything to keep the costs of labor down. Why is all the greatest economic growth now going on in China, India, etc? Because people will work 16 hour days for $12. Handlin sees that success spreading to the south, and now wants to bring it here to NJ. If it’s been so great for those 22 states, why is our per-capita income and standard of living so much higher here?

Thanks but no thanks, Amy Handlin, you’re just a rich legislator who wants to be even richer like all the others in your party. Some of us can still see right through all your party’s BS. (Richard W)

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Filed under 13th Legislative District, AFL-CIO, Amy Handlin, Declan O'Scanlon, New Jersey Newsroom, NJ State Assembly, public workers, right to work, Sheila Oliver, the Independent, union members

>Fine Print: Senate Bill No. 2937 Proposed legislation would dictate sweeping changes to public employees’ pensions and healthcare benefits

>By John Mooney – NJSPOTLIGHT.com

Synopsis: “An act concerning public employee pension and health care benefits, and amending and supplementing various parts of the statutory law and repealing P.L.1999, c.96 and P.L.1985, c.414. Makes various changes to pension and healthcare benefits for public employees”

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Senate Bill No. 2937

Primary sponsor: Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester)

What it means: The 120-page bill makes sweeping changes to public employees’ contributions to their pension and health benefit plans, and to the rules that dictate those benefits. Pensions and benefits have been at the center of debate between Gov. Chris Christie and the legislature since Christie took office, and the apparent agreement on this bill — at least for now — has consumed Trenton for much of the last week and likely for the next.

It’s all in the details: The new bill, introduced yesterday, would require public employees pay up to an additional 2.5 percent of their salaries toward their pensions, and up to 30 percent of their healthcare premiums. But how the law meets those thresholds represents the key differences between what Christie has sought and what Sweeney now proposes, with the Democratic leader phasing in some of the increases and also scaling the healthcare contribution, depending on salary. Low-paid public workers will barely make any contribution at all.

Riding off into the sunset clause: Sweeney struck a deal with Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) in introducing the bill to also include Oliver’s proposal that the health benefits changes would have a “sunset clause” and revert to being a subject of collective bargaining in 2014. Christie has not yet commented on the proposed sunset, but has appeared reluctant to back any reforms that have a limited shelf life.

What’s next: The Senate budget committee is set to hold a hearing on the bill tomorrow, with the Assembly budget committee slated to hold its own hearing on the companion bill on Monday.

The reaction: Needless to say, public employees unions aren’t taking too well to the ideas, and have big protests planned tomorrow for the Statehouse and maybe legislators’ homes. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is also holding a press conference today to point out what it calls the false assumptions and savings in the proposals.

Will it pass? That of course, is the bottom line. It’s as close as ever to passage, to be sure, but it faces lots of questions both in substance and politics. Sweeney has said he will push it through, even if it means defying some of his Democratic caucus. Oliver has been less willing, and has indicated she may not post it for final vote without consent of her members.

In the end, it will require what was once unfathomable: a sizable number of Democrats going against organized labor during an election year. But these are remarkable times, with similar measures passing in other states with Democratic support.

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Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, health benefits and pension reform, NJEA, NJspotlight, public unions, senate bill 2937, Sheila Oliver, Stephen Sweeney